NC State had to move now on Gottfried status
Posted February 16
It was time.
With the vast majority of Wolfpack Nation knowing, assuming or even hoping that NC State would make a coaching change in men's basketball at season's end, there was no longer a benefit in dancing around the subject. A definitive statement needed to be made sooner rather than later.
Through Thursday's announcement, State effectively controls the message – a message that was on the verge of spiraling out of control in weeks remaining in the basketball season.
Had NC State remained silent on the issue, speculation on Mark Gottfried's future would have been the dominant theme for the rest of the season. In today's 24-hour media cycle, getting out in front of any news – fake or not – is more important than ever for an organization. Silence can be equated to ineffectiveness by the consumer – in this case, the fan base – and no organization wants to be perceived as ineffective.
What's critical here is that a decision was made to fire Gottfried. Once that decision was made – and leaked – simply sitting on that information would have put all involved in unnecessarily uncomfortable positions. Every postgame press conference with Gottfried would have included some form of "Have you been fired?" question. That's just the reality.
Now, Gottfried can coach his team without the distraction of dancing around the topic about his future. Now, NC State can begin vetting potential replacements in a slightly less awkward fashion. And now, Wolfpack fans – and we in the media – can stop asking questions about Gottfried's employment status.
We can debate the merits of his firing. I think any coach would find surviving a season like this difficult. Historically-bad losses are not the recipe for job security. Regardless, the message was already out there, and it was time for NC State to own it.
It's PR 101, and State passed the test.